Being able to breathe is one of the most important functions of the human body, and if you have bronchiectasis, you might have difficulties doing that because is going on in your lungs. Bronchiectasis stasis is a condition that can make it difficult to breathe, and anyone who has it should know about the disability benefits that they might be able to receive through the Social Security Administration. Taking care of your body when you have an illness might be difficult. But you can make everything a lot easier if you have the financial help that you need.
What is Bronchietasis?
Bronchiectasis is a condition that affects the lungs, causing mucus to build up. People with bronchiectasis have bronchi that are thicker on the inside than healthy bronchi. Over time, the bronchi get thick with scaring on the inside. Mucus collects in the bronchi because the walls are thicker and the lungs aren’t able to expel mucus. Bronchi are the passageways that air has to travel through to reach a set of lungs, and having mucus and scar tissue in these parts can make it more difficult to breathe. Additionally, the cilia that help mucus move out of the bronchi are destroyed.
Bronchiectasis is fairly common, with about 500,000 people in the U.S. having it. Additionally, about 1 in 150 people over 75 years of age have bronchiectasis. While it’s more common in older people, it is possible for younger people to get this condition.
There are certain risk factors for bronchiectasis, including having cystic fibrosis and certain lung infections, such as tuberculosis or pneumonia, that are chronic or severe. Anyone who has an inflammatory lung disease that persists or comes back frequently and people who have deficits in their immune systems are also at a greater risk. Finally, people who aspirate things other than air, such as food, can damage their lungs.
Cystic fibrosis, which is a genetic condition the affects the lungs and causes infections, is one potential cause of bronchiectasis. But severe infections that damaged the lungs in the past, primary ciliary dyskinesia deficiency, or alpa-1 antitrypsis deficiency might also cause it. Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgren’s syndrome, and Crohn’s disease can also cause bronchiectasis.
Symptoms of Bronchiectasis
One of the most common symptoms of bronchiectasis is coughing up a lot of mucus. Additionally, the mucus might have blood in it. Along with this, it’s common for people to have chest pain or tightness caused by the fact that it’s more difficult to breathe. People often make whistling or wheezing noises while trying to breathe because the air is getting caught in the mucus in the bronchial tubes.
While it makes perfect sense that a person with bronchiectasis would experience breathing problems, they often experience some symptoms that you might not suspect. For instance, clubbing of the nails is also a common symptom. Fingers often get wider at the tips because of both heart and lung conditions, and bronchiectasis is one of the diseases that can cause clubbing, which occurs over the course of several years and is caused by low oxygen in the blood. When a person’s fingers club, there’s a buildup of tissue at the tips of the fingers. No one knows for sure why this tissue builds up, but there’s a possibility that it has to do with the dilation of blood vessels, which results in the formation of extra connective tissues.
Some people might also experience weight loss, and they might have flareups that include fevers and chills, shortness of breath, and night sweats. Finally, fatigue is very common because people are unable to get enough oxygen to all the parts of their bodies, which causes people to become fatigued more easily.
Treatment for Bronchiectasis
While there isn’t a cure for bronchiectasis, many of the symptoms can be managed. For instance, a combination of medications and devices might be used to provide a better quality of life for the patient. Antibiotics might be given in oral form or inhaled form to treat bacterial infections that could make the mucus worse. Additionally, macrolides, which are drugs that treat both inflammations and infections at the same time, are also used. And for more severe flareups, some people might also receive antibiotics intravenously. Finally, some people might also take drugs that are used to break mucus up so that the patient can clear it out more easily.
One of the devices some people might use is a positive expiratory pressure machine, which can help break up the mucus and help people cough it out. There are also percussive devices that people use to break up the mucus. These types of devices are usually worn like a vest. Additionally, there is also a type of physical therapy that involves chest clapping, which can help break up the mucus so that the patient can cough it out.
The exact type of treatment that someone with bronchiectasis will get will also be dependent on what stage the person is in. There are techniques that people use as maintenance, and there are techniques that people with bronchiectasis do when they are having a flareup.
Disability Benefits for Bronchiectasis
Qualifying for bronchiectasis disability benefits is possible for people who meet certain criteria. Many people who have bronchiectasis might need financial help because they are unable to work because of the condition, and thankfully, there is a Blue Book listing with the Social Security Administration for this condition.
One of the first criteria that a person must meet is to be diagnosed by a doctor with having bronchiectasis. To diagnose this, the doctor must use the approved imaging technique, which will usually include a CT scan. Additionally, applicants must have at least one of two conditions present. The first one that a person can use to qualify for benefits is impaired lung functions, which they’ll have to undergo a series of tests to determine that they have. These tests will take measurements of lung capacity and the gas exchange of the respiratory system.
The other possibility is if a person has recurring episodes of pneumonia, bronchitis, hemoptysis, or respiratory failure in which they have to have intensive treatment in a hospital or other medical facility. Additionally, these occurrences must happen at least six times a year or once every two months. Any hospital stay of longer than 24 hours will count as two episodes.
Additionally, some people might also qualify by going through the residual functional capacity test. This test will look at the limitations of the applicant and compare them with all of the jobs that they’ve done in the past. The doctor will need to be the one to make the list of limitations with the patient, and the SSA will be the entity to determine whether or not there’s available work for the applicant.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Bronchiectasis, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.